Another Death By Drinking Find: This Time, Energy Drinks

Another death by drinking study has hit, but this time, the culprit isn’t binge drinking. No, it’s the energy drinks phenomenon.

According to a new study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, various company reports from the Food and Drug Administration listed 17 new deaths since late 2012, when the first fatalities were reported.

To date, notes OregonLive, 34 people have died after consuming an energy drink.

“Two drinks accounted for most of the deaths,” writes Lynne Terry from the news site, “with 22 linked to 5-Hour Energy and 11 to Monster. The newly released documents tie one fatality to Rockstar.”

According to the FDA, these reports come from companies which are required to notify the agency of any ill effects associated with their products.

“The reports only list a date, the product, symptoms and outcome,” Terry says. “Some people vomited, suffered chest pain and then died after drinking 5-Hour Energy with cases of cardiac arrest associated with Monster Energy Drink.”

“As I see in my medical practice, energy drinks are clearly causing symptomatic arrhythmias,” Dr. Stacy Fisher, director of complex heart diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement. “These new reports of deaths and other injuries raise the level of concern about the adverse effects of energy drinks.”

The center cautioned that these reports do not prove energy drinks caused the deaths, and the FDA said two years ago in a statement before Congress that it would investigate such reports, but it has yet to notify Congress of any conclusions.

The center issued a warning to the agency to start placing warning labels on energy drinks similar to those with cigarettes, saying that they “can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, convulsions or death.”

“As a further precaution,” the Center states, it “asked the agency to require manufacturers to lower caffeine levels in the drinks to 0.02 percent, or 71 milligrams per 12 ounces — the maximum amount the FDA considers safe in cola-style beverages.”

“Also, CSPI asked the agency to require careful studies on the health effects of the various chemical and herbal ingredients (such as taurine, glucuronolactone, carnitine, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle extract, and guarana seed) used in energy drinks and their possible interactions with caffeine,” the Center claimed.

Center spokesman Jeff Cronin admitted he does not have high hopes for quick action. “It took us 10 years to get a line for transfat on nutrition fact labels,” he said.

Do you think death by drinking energy drinks is something to be concerned about? Should more warning labels exist on these products?

[Image via CSPI, linked above]